Fans of AVATAR LEGEND OF KORRA, your comic is here. The long-awaited first installment of LEGEND OF KORRA: TURF WARS has hit shelves all across the nation. However, is it everything we were promised? Is this the sweet Korrasami continuation we’ve been craving, or does it mess too much with the pre-established canon?

Before you buy LEGEND OF KORRA: TURF WARS…

1. They Actually Address Homosexuality in the AVATAR Universe

Before we continue to the list, I feel like it’s my duty to explain why this series even warrants a continuation or half the attention it gets. So, if you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, here’s the sitch: THE LEGEND OF KORRA and subsequently, THE LEGEND OF KORRA: TURF WARS shows one of the first canonically verified LGBT+ couples on American children’s television. That’s why it’s kind of a big deal for these themes to get any exploration in the world of AVATAR. Before KORRA’s finale, homosexuality essentially couldn’t exist in children’s cartoons. A lot of retconning had to occur in order to add this nuance to AVATAR canon. However, these are all necessary additions to pre-established lore.

Korra and Asami can’t possibly be the only same-sex couple to ever exist in this world. Fortunately, the creators give a nod to the history of LGBT+ individuals in the AVATAR universe. As it turns out, the nations, much like our own world, have varying views on same-sex attraction. Some, like the Air Nomads, accept all facets of sexual identities. Meanwhile, others, such as the Earth Kingdom, do not. Their attitudes also appear dependent on the leadership. For instance, the Fire Nation felt impartial to same-sex couples until Sozin took over, who swiftly made such couplings illegal.

They even show how Korra’s family takes the news, a scene that I welcomed with open arms. It might not be an idyllic coming out for the Avatar, but it doesn’t fall too far into tropes either. Her parents are accepting yet concerned. After all, the Water Tribe’s approach has always been to keep private matters between the individuals. As such, they don’t fully understand why Korra would want to tell people about her relationship with Asami. It’s nice to see these ideas getting fleshed out, especially since the TV show barely, if ever, addressed LGBT+ politics in it. It gives more of a reason for those who want to see this side of the AVATAR universe explored to purchase a copy of LEGEND OF KORRA: TURF WARS.

Before You Buy LEGEND OF KORRA: TURF WARS
Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

2. It’s Not Lesbian BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

So one day I was talking to my twin brother about this comic. I said he would enjoy the gay aspects of the story but that they weren’t quite what the entire comic was about. He then looked at me with almost a sad face, claiming that he was certain that this comic would be “lesbian BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.” He was devastated to learn they didn’t just hang out in the spirit world, even going so far as to forward me an image of Korra and Asami walking into the spirit portal, yet the spirit portal had been photoshopped to look like a rainbow as though it were the gay “final frontier.”

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Yes, Korra and Asami begin the story taking their vacation, yet that’s not all that’s there. They don’t just sit around a campfire getting away from society’s expectations during a magical journey of self-discovery. The two actually go back to the mortal world fairly quickly in the book. So for those potential readers hoping they’d see lots of spirit world shenanigans (ex/ Uncle Iroh drinking tea or other spirit world friends), I hate to be the bearer of bad news.

3. Korra and Asami’s Relationship is a Subplot

This was by far the most disappointing aspect of the comic. Yes, on the one hand, sexuality isn’t a huge deal. Why should they go overboard trying to show off the relationship between Korra and Asami if they want to normalize it? Yet at the same time, I feel like that was a huge selling point for the comic. We never got to see them together in the show. Yes, the comic shows them as a couple, but I personally wanted more.

I wanted this gay relationship front and center. I wanted to see how they handled coming out to the world and how they actually worked together as a couple. The dynamic is different now, there’s no getting around that. Yet, at times, it seems like the comic is too shy to show them “out and proud,” so to speak. There’s another plot that they’re focusing on. It’s not a bad plot. It’s just not what I personally would have done in this instance.

Before You Buy LEGEND OF KORRA: TURF WARS
Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics

4. The “Look” of the Comic Differs From the Show

I feel like when shows, particularly animated ones, make the jump from TV to a different medium, there’s a lot of pressure to keep up the same appearance they had before. I get this. If you’re a fan of a particular property because of its art style, then it makes sense that any continuation of it should at least try to appear similar. Unfortunately for those fans married to the art style of AVATAR: LEGEND OF KORRA, TURF WARS does differ from the source material. For me, this wasn’t a deal breaker. I normally prefer sketchier and simplistic designs for comics since these styles let me focus more on the story behind the characters. Yet for those accustomed to the fine lines and distinct models of the original, it makes sense why you might have some gripes with this change of pace.

READ: Want to know what the show left behind? Check out it’s legacy!

5. There’s Another “Ideological” Plot

Fans of the show might remember how each villain of KORRA had distinct values they fought to protect. They weren’t evil so much as extremists, thinking their way of living was superior to any other. Thus, they threw the world out of balance and forced Korra to stop them. I like how LEGEND OF KORRA TURF WARS continues this mentality in the comics.

Here, people displaced from Kuvira’s war and politicians bent on fixing the broken Earth Kingdom create a power vacuum in the streets of Republic City, allowing gangs to take over. Furthermore, company greed forces the protagonists to ask: who really owns the spirit world? Is it a public place for all or just for the spirits and the Avatar? Technically, nobody has done anything objectively wrong in the comics yet. However, there’s definitely rising action. Hopefully, the next installments will elaborate more on the bad guys’ goals. But for now, it seems to be leading up to something great.

READ: Want a full review of TURF WARS? Check it out here!

In the end, LEGEND OF KORRA: TURF WARS is a great comic. It’s not perfect, but as someone who desperately wanted more Korra and Asami, I was happy to get some canonical representation. Hopefully, the creators will dive deeper into their relationship in future installments. Still, for now, it’ll tide people over until the next issue.

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